WMBD/WYZZ-TV - CHAMPAIGN, ILL. -- Alex Burge doesn't have to look hard for inspiration.
"Growing up my dad was deaf," said Burge. "This spring he got Cochlear implants so it was kind of a life-changing event this spring. He can hear now, which was a sweet moment."
His father was the one who helped him find the passion for golf. He helped him put things into perspective and learn valuable lessons on the golf course, Burge says..
"I'm a pretty calm guy out there," said the former Bloomington High School star. "I'm told you don't know if I'm playing good or bad. I think his influence has been the main part of that."
As a freshman last season, Burge helped the Illini to a fourth straight Big 10 championship. But he acknowledges it wasn't perfect in his first year at the U of I.
"My goal was to come in and play and that happened, which was awesome. I wish I had played better but I helped the team out," said Burge. "In team golf, that's what you have to do. A couple good rounds in each tournament goes a long way."
He's fine tuning his game this summer, making the cut at the Illinois Open and qualifying for next month's Illinois State Am. Those are events he hopes will have him more prepared for next season.
"Alex has potential, we've always known that," said Illini coach Mike Small. "He'll have to improve this year, he knows that. He got into the lineup last year and got some experience. Hopefully that'll pay off this year."
Former Illinois star Luke Guthrie is gone. Burge will look to take a big step to help fill the void.